Hancock & Moore adds capacity with additional manufacturing

Company parent converts part of existing building used for frame storage to production for luxury leather line

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. — Luxury leather upholstery manufacturer Hancock & Moore has added manufacturing capacity here in a property owned by company parent Rock House Farm Investments.

Earlier this fall, the company began upholstery production in an estimated 86,000-square-foot facility that originally built and stored upholstery frames and also handled some spring-up operations.

While the facility still builds the frames, the company is using about half the space that was used for storage to build its leather upholstery line. The company began production about two months ago, but is slowly increasing its output week by week.

For dealers and designers, this will mean getting product more quickly over time. Currently Hancock & Moore’s lead times are estimated at about 14 or 15 weeks. The additional capacity will increase the rate of “catch-up” by another 10% to 15%, said Alex Shuford III, chief executive officer of RHF Inc.

He expects that the facility will provide the Hancock & Moore brand a 7% to 8% increase in capacity at its current levels. However, over time, he said it could be as much as a 15% to 20% increase in capacity, representing as much as 15% to 20% of the brand’s overall capacity.

The company also is investing between $300,000 and $500,000 to upfit the building, Shuford told Home News Now, noting that the upfit included the installation of new air conditioning and new compressor lines, as well as new workstations and benches, and materials-handling equipment.

He said the facility still has about 20 woodworkers and roughly 15 to 20 on the upholstery side currently, with a goal to expand that to between 50 and 70 workers.

In addition to the Taylorsville operation, the company also has two plants in nearby Bethlehem, North Carolina, which are 158,000 square feet and 106,000 square feet respectively, said James Kennedy, vice president, operations.

The facility’s location is about 15 to 20 minutes away from the main Hancock & Moore operations in Bethlehem just outside of Hickory, Shuford said, which allows it to tap into a different labor pool rather than competing with existing operations for workers.

“We are trying to get far enough away from our existing factories where we are attracting new people,” he said, noting that the same is true of the Classic Leather operations the company just purchased in nearby Conover, North Carolina. “The convenient thing was that this was a building we already owned. To get access to that labor pool, we basically took half the property and converted it over.”

He said while the plant has been producing upholstery for about two months, it will take time to get additional workers and up to full production of its leather upholstery mix.

At present, Shuford said, the Taylorsville operation is focusing on stationary leather upholstery. But over time, he expects that it also could produce the company’s motion category, which includes power recliners and power lift chairs.

“Eventually the idea is to be able to have it run either,” he said noting that because of the challenges with materials handling on the motion side, it will initially focus on stationary.  

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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